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 Why would the NEP have led to an democratic political system? Stalin' opponents, including Bukharin, were just as happy killing folks who were genuinely opposing the regime as Stalin himself. The difference was that Stalin went quite a bit further in his paranoid encouragement of rooting out anyone who might possibly  privately not be a big fan, or at least had an enemy who would say that was the case in a denunciation. That in turn created a sick dynamic of people seeking to denounce people who they suspected might denounce them, and the whole thing snowballed.

Secondly, the NEP was largely a small scale service sector thing, plus small scale private farming.

Finally, Stalin first allied himself with Bukharin to get rid of the 'left' starting with Trotsky, then Zinoviev and Kamenev. He then flipped, but that was because of the belief that you needed to develop heavy industry at an intense pace. To do that you needed to shift resources and manpower from the agricultural, rural sector to the industrial urban one. That meant destroying rural society in order to be able to wring every last bit you could out of them, while getting mass migration to the cities.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:52:55 PM EST
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